Monday, August 24, 2015

Let's complete a team set today

Among the various baseball card items that Jim of gcrl sent me in a rather eclectic package that I showed last week were a few cards from my 1996 Fleer Team Wax Dodgers want list.

Here they are:

Now, they're all fine cards. But 1996 Fleer Team Wax is a pretty good example of why I believe I would be a lot less sane than I am now if I had collected in the mid-to-late 1990s.

In 1996, Fleer put out its usual set, except instead of making it glossy, as every card company in the world was doing at the time, it produced the cards with a matte finish.


Then, as if acknowledging that some collectors might not be crazy about the way their matte cards feel -- considering that collectors had been freaking out about glossy finished cards for years -- Fleer produced a tiffany version of its flagship set. The tiffany version featured all of the cards -- same pictures, design, etc. -- that you saw in the flagship set, except that these cards were tiffany -- or, in other words, glossy.

So ... Fleer didn't produce a glossy base-card set in 1996, except that it did. I believe this is known as "trying to be all things to all people."

Now, on top of that, Fleer wanted to issue team sets, what is often referred to as "team wax" sets. OK, that's kind of cool. It's nice to see a different photo of a player here or there.

Except that Fleer made the team sets -- 20 cards for each team -- with the same photos and design that it used for the flagship set. Sure, Fleer made them glossy, so you wouldn't confuse them with the matte-finish flagship cards. Except that now you were confusing them with the Fleer tiffany/glossy cards because all of those photos were the same as the team set cards, which were the same as the flagship set cards.


Needless to say, as someone who didn't collect a wit in 1996, it's taken me years to figure this out. I'm still not fully confident that I have.

But, fortunately, by the time that gcrl sent some '96 Fleer Team Wax Dodgers to me, my confidence level had risen enough to put up a want list for the team set. He looked at that list and sent me the cards that you saw above. I'm happy to say that I needed them all, and I wasn't confusing any of them with the Fleer matte finish cards or the tiffany cards either.

And after double-checking and triple-checking, I determined that my needs for the set had been whittled down to three cards.

#2, #13, #18.

That's Brett Butler, Hideo Nomo and Todd Worrell.

Fortunately, Jim also sent three unopened Team Wax packs:

OK, so they've been opened already. This is a blog, it requires quite a bit of prep work.

I'm going to try to complete this 20-card set with these three packs. I feel pretty good about this, needing just three more cards from the set. But then you know '90s collation.

Here is Pack 1:

Excellent, I received both card #2, Brett Butler, and card #18, Todd Worrell. That cuts the ol' want list down to a single card, #13, Hideo Nomo.

Let's open Pack 2:

Uh oh. That's nothing that I need. And the second Butler is taunting me.

OK, one last pack to go. I need a Nomo and that's it.

Here we go:

Yay! Nomo! Third card out of the pack.

My Fleer 96 Team Wax set, not to be confused with the Fleer 96 flagship Dodger team set or the Fleer 96 tiffany Dodger team set, is now complete.

Here it is:


The want list has been eliminated.

But, of course, while erasing that want list, I realized I didn't have a want list up for the Dodger tiffany set. The tiffany want list is up, and I've discovered I'm 18 cards short on that.


'90s cards will drive me insane yet.


  1. I've picked up a few of those team set cards over the years, but I don't think I'd realized they came in packs, I thought it was just sold as a team set.

    Man, I miss Fleer. Not everything Fleer, naturally, but enough Fleer to make me wax nostalgic.

    ...No pun intended.

  2. whew! glad the packs worked out for you - i sent a couple to david at tribecards for the pack-a-daily deal and would have felt badly if you fell short a card or two.

  3. if my memory serves me correctly, Fleer was telling collectors that they used the matte finish in 1996 (and brought it back in 1997) as an easier surface for collectors to get an autograph with a ball point pen.

  4. Learned something I did. I've always just considered those # of 20 cards as inserts.

  5. You'll notice that the Tiffany parallels have rainbow foil, while the Team Wax ones just have silver foil. Other than the card numbering, that's the only way I've found to tell them apart.

  6. I take major issue with Fleer's player selection. Mike freakin' Blowers? Come on.

  7. I don't think I knew these team sets existed. The matte finish is a wise choice, because cards of that era are too prone to sticking together. If only the stock weren't so damn flimsy. The inserts that year were pretty good, though.

  8. I have distinct memories of Harry Caray struggling to pronounce Mike Blowers' name on television broadcasts...but I guess you could say that with most player names he attempted. Jose Vizcaino, I'm looking at you...